Under-5s physical activity guidelines parents may not want to hear

NZ Herald 14 April 2016
Family First Comment: This is EXACTLY what we covered and were recommending in our report last year! https://www.familyfirst.org.nz/research/screen-time-2015/

Children under 5 need at least three hours of physical activity a day, a daily maximum of one hour screen time – and no screen time at all for infants and toddlers – parents are likely to be told as part of official guidelines.

The Ministry of Health has today published a review into the resources and guidance on physical activity for children under 5 that will inform new national guidelines.

The guidelines are yet to be developed, but the review has recommended the group of experts chosen for the task consider guidelines that could come as a shock to some parents — particularly those who allow their children to use an iPad or smartphone.

Guidelines could differ for infants (under 12 months), toddlers (aged 1 to 2 years) and pre-schoolers.

Guidelines the expert group have been asked to consider include:
• Toddlers and pre-schoolers should get at least three hours of physical activity each day.

• Pre-schoolers should be sedentary for no more than one hour at a time (excluding sleeping and eating).

• Children under 2 years should have no screen time. For older children, screen time should be limited to less than an hour a day, although less is better.

The 2013/14 Health Survey showed that more than half of children aged 2 to 4 years old watched two or more hours of television a day. That figure is higher for Maori and Pacific children.

What other countries tell parents
Australia
• Children under 5 should not be sedentary for more than an hour a day, except for during sleep.

• Children under 2 should not watch TV or use other electronic media. Older kids should be limited to less than an hour a day.

Canada
• Screen time not recommended for kids under 2, and limit it to one hour a day for children aged up to 4 years.

United States
• Limit time infants spend in restricted seating like swings, strollers and high chairs. Don’t let kids sit for more than 15 to 30 minutes, unless during meals or nap time.

• Only use equipment like exersaucers for limited periods of time.

• No screen time for kids under 2. For children aged 2 to 4 years, in a childcare setting, limit screen time to no more than 30 minutes a week.
READ MORE: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11622498

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